Introvert and proud

January 2, 2016

So I’ve found out, after 35 years, that I am probably an introvert.

This (somewhat late in the day) realisation came about after some personality testing that we carried out recently in work using the Myers-Briggs test. If you’ve experienced the test yourself you’ll know that it outputs a four letter personality type, based on the degrees to which you are Extroverted/Introverted, Sensing/Intuitive, Feeling/Thinking and Judging/Perceiving.

My type? Introverted (I), Intuitive (N), Feeling (F) and Judging (J). Or INFJ.

All of which I was aware of really, apart from the piece about being an introvert. It seems a bit crazy that it’s taken me so long to find this out but on reflection it makes an awful lot of sense.

The need for decompression. The all-too-easy-to-reach breaking point. The draining nature of large social groups. The regenerative effect of time alone…

These are things I’ve always known about myself but I’d have never been able to explain until now. And labelling it feels like a release – because it means that my need for time out and introspection – my need to regularly recharge – is not a failing or weakness (as I have been made to feel in times gone by) but a simple fact of my make-up.

So no longer do I feel I have to go and go and go and go until I’m forced to stop suddenly, broken and unable to function. Rather I can take my time and pace myself. Plan in periods of solitude. Where I can simply be, and breathe.

So if I don’t come for that post-work drink, or I turn down an offer of a run, don’t think me rude. I am an introvert. And when I retreat and take time out I’m not being ignorant, aloof, or antisocial. Rather I’m sticking myself on recharge so I can live to fight another day.

What is it about Christmas?

December 22, 2015

What is it about Christmas? Every year on around the 22nd December I end up feeling entirely frazzled, thinking ‘why the fuss’?!

It’s not as though I’m not organised. On the contrary, I’ve had a list and been ticking things off since November. Nor am I entertaining – Mum’s doing all that. Yet even so it’s just all so overwhelming still.

The final emails to be sent before finishing work. The last presents to be wrapped. The ever-smaller bits of sellotape as the roll runs out. The flowers and wine you mustn’t forget to pick up for your hosts. The toothbrush that needs putting into your travel bag before you leave in the morning… Etc, etc, etc.

Now let’s face it, none of these are real problems. I get that. But there’s something about the sheer relentlessness of this time of year that makes me feel like someone’s dragging their fingernails down the inside of my brain.

So it’s 7.45pm on 22nd December as I write this and actually I’m finally done but instead of feeling happy or relaxed I’m lying in bed feeling faintly sick with stress and wishing I could sleep for days. And every year it’s the same.

In truth it’s probably my least favourite time of year so why don’t I do differently? I always set out to.

I guess it boils down to expectations – yes, those of others but also my own too, about what I should be doing and I guess what I should be enjoying too. As I get older, I love January more and more – that minimalistic, back to basics living that everyone else seems to find a chore is my idea of bliss! But surely I can bring some of this into December?

If my feelings about Christmas are to change (and I’d really like them to) then it’s something I must work on. The pressure has to come off and I have to take control of what Christmas means for me. That is unless I want to be back here on 22nd December next year writing the very same things…

 

I got annoyed with someone this weekend when they seemed to be letting down a friend of mine. I labelled them inconsiderate, rude and unworthy of this friend’s time.

Then I remembered that you never know.

You never know what’s happening in someone else’s life. You never know what pain they might be in. What frustrations they might be experiencing. Or what pressure they might be under.

And it is the easiest thing in the world to forget all of this and just judge.

But God knows I’ve been on the receiving end of that enough recently. And really I should know better.

So I’ll take them back, my negative thoughts. And instead I’ll practise compassion, reaching out to say ‘are you ok?’.

 

Savasana

November 18, 2015

“The stresses of modern civilisation are a strain on the nerves for which savasana is the best antidote”
-BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga

Savasana. That pose we know so well at the end of class…the moment to let go. To release yourself to the ground and be held, just for a short while. But what role does savasana have in everyday life?

I’ve recently been ill, with a virus that’s doing the rounds, but that has lasted now a good four or five weeks. It’s disrupted my sleep and left me exhausted – fit for pretty much nothing. I work all week and spend the weekends in recovery, getting ready for Monday again.

As a result, everything from running to yoga (and to general housekeeping too!) has fallen by the wayside. But then I remembered savasana and decided I at least had the energy for that.

For 15 minutes last night I lay in what’s perhaps more commonly known as corpse pose, emptying my mind of noise and allowing myself to just be.

It was refreshing, and yes, energising. I went to bed heartened that even though physically I might be struggling, mentally I can find peace.

Welcome to yogalustco

November 1, 2015

Welcome to yogalustco! Whatever it was that brought you here, I hope you enjoy the space and find something that interests you.

As you’ll have seen if you’ve read ‘being me’, creating a blog was a project that had been on my to do list for a while.

But why? And what will you find here?

Life has undergone significant change in the past couple of years and it’s been a really steep learning curve! So in a way this is about my journey – from awaking, in my mid-30s, to realise that my life had become, if not someone else’s then just…not mine, to getting divorced and all the mess that came with it, to emerging where I am today and beginning to define a new future for myself.

But it’s not all about me. Yes, I’ve learnt along the way that writing is a great creative outlet but I’ve also been reminded that one of the things that matters to me most is helping others. I want to share what I’ve learnt but also discuss what I’m learning. And, of course, learn from you.

My ‘teachers’ to date have been wide and varied – the friends and family that have helped me along the way but also the various holistic therapies that have provided me solace and support – from talking therapies to acupuncture to meditation and beyond.

And yoga. Yoga has been THE biggest support to me and is something I’m very passionate about. Through 2016 I’ll be training with Laura Gilmore in Bristol for my 200hr Yoga Alliance teaching qualification and then, ultimately, I’ll be looking to build a yoga business.

So this is the beginning rather than the end. Unsurprisingly you can expect plenty of yoga posts! But also musings on what it is to live in today’s world, how I find meaning in life, the odd outdoorsy photograph – a celebration of how beautiful our surroundings can be if we take the time to look – and most likely a variety of other thoughts on food, travel, relationships…

There will of course be some looking back but mostly it’s about what comes next. I hope you’ll join me on the journey…

It’s how we learn

October 23, 2015

Seen on Instagram:

We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. We have all loved someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. It is an intrinsic human trait, and a deep responsibility, I think, to be an organ and a blade. But, learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. We make horrible mistakes. It’s how we learn. We breathe love. It’s how we learn. And it is inevitable.

– Nayyirah Waheed

Ich habe hunger

October 13, 2015

It occurred to me that, as English speakers, we really do overuse the phrase ‘I am’. I am hungry.

I am thirsty. I am cold. I am sad. I am British. I am female…

We use it for permanent states, and temporary states, with no second thought at all but if you think about our various European cousins, they’re different.

Ich habe hunger vs. Ich bin walisisch.

J’ai faim vs. Je suis galloise.

Tengo hambre vs. Soy galesa.

They use ‘I am’ for permanent states but ‘I have’ for more temporary states such as being hungry, thirsty, sad, happy…

And that’s right isn’t it? Because to use ‘I am’ with a feeling, an emotion, gives it too much credence, too much weight. It accords it a sense of permanence that it doesn’t really deserve. I am not hungry but I feel a temporary need to eat. I am not sad but may be experiencing a passing moment of sadness – a moment that, if I don’t attach myself too strongly to it, will just fade away with time.

That’s not to belittle feelings. I have (recent) personal experience of their power, both positive and negative. But it seems to me that in an age of so-called mindfulness we might be as mindful of the language we use to describe our feelings as we are of the feelings themselves.

Yoga For All

September 15, 2015

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

“A most enlightening and peaceful space.”

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit.

(more…)

Seen on Instagram:

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

Iain Thomas

Being me

May 6, 2015
I'm convinced!

Greg Faxon and the 30-Day Bravery Challenge he started back in April – that’s the source of this post, indeed this blog!

For a while I’d wanted to write but it had never quite made it to the top of the ‘to do’ list. That is until I was challenged, on day four, to be authentic.

But what does authentic mean I started thinking – what does it mean to be me? Scratch that, what does it really mean to be me?  Because it’s not such an easy thing to answer, especially when your life has recently undergone such massive change as mine has.

Two years ago ‘me’ was a wife, a sister and a daughter. A career-focused marketer with a C.V. full of promotions, always on the lookout for bigger and better things. Caring, but busy. Living a bit of an insular life. And, in hindsight, falling a little out of love with it all.

Fast forward to today and that me is, if not totally gone, then certainly different. I’m an ex-wife, an (estranged) sister and, of course, still a daughter. I’m still a marketer, I still have that C.V. The difference is that, bubbling up from below the surface, is a whole new set of wishes and desires. My ‘truth’ if you will – the ‘authentic’ that Greg had tasked me with being.

The strange thing is, it’s familiar – reminiscent of more innocent years. Which means that somewhere along the way I buried it, for reasons I’m not sure I’ll ever understand.

I have a yearning for the creative that doesn’t yet have an outlet – I’m drawn towards learning to draw or paint, to make a love of writing more official, to go out and take photographs.

I’m filled with desire to be outdoors – in great open spaces preferably. It doesn’t have to be activity-based, I just have to be closer to nature.

And I’m sporty, a runner. I ran a bloody marathon! And not just any marathon but NYC, one of the greats. How’s that for setting a goal and grabbing it with both hands?

I love helping people. Helping find solutions to their problems and guiding them in facing challenges. By all accounts it’s something I’m quite good at.

And really, I love people. Talking to them, learning about them, experiencing and celebrating  their differences.

I have some pretty strong core values. Integrity, truth, equality, justice, compassion…

And finally, I’ve rekindled a love for yoga. Today is 57 days straight in my home practice and I’m enrolled back in a class too.

But I need (need not want) to make more of all this. To turn it into something tangible. This is the scary bit. I’ve become very unfulfilled and my gut tells me it’s time for something new. But you’ve spent the last 35 years getting here my rational brain yells. Well, so what? That’s not a good enough reason to not change things.

So.

Yesterday saw me start a conversation with my yoga teacher about qualifying to teach myself. And we’ve identified a course I could start next Spring. It’s not going to pay any bills, not overnight, but being a yoga teacher feels like it’d be somewhat right. Authentic if you will.

Certainly it’s a piece of the puzzle. And I can manage not being in love with all the other pieces while I’m working on this one. Plus who knows what other pieces I might find that fit and can help to build a life that I love. That is fulfilling. And of course authentic.

Watch this space.

So that’s me, being me. And I invite you to give it a go – what does it mean to you to be authentic?

Newsletter

Register for updates on future classes and workshops